A central Iowa woman who’s spent 30 years in a wheelchair is gaining a new voice for her inspirational message.A pickup truck accident at age 18 left Ruth Evans near complete paralysis. She can move her left arm enough to operate an electric wheelchair. The Des Moines woman has a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling and works as a caseworker, in addition to being a watercolor artist. She uses her mouth to write, to type and to paint, saying, “I use everything I got to do the most that I can.” Evans was crowed Saturday in Iowa City as the 2002 Ms Wheelchair Iowa. She’ll represent the state in the national competition this summer in Maryland and will spend the next year talking to Iowans, not about disabilities, but the –abilities– of people in wheelchairs.The 48-year-old Evans looks forward to the competition this summer, and to the year ahead of being Iowa’s new advocate for people in wheelchairs. She says she’ll talk to schools and make public appearances to show how much people in wheelchairs can do.The program seeks out women between the ages of 21 and 60 who’ve lived in Iowa at least two years, who are U-S citizens and who use a wheelchair daily for mobility. Marital status is not a consideration. People interested in having Evans talk to their group should contact Judy Hoit at (319) 351-8375 or via email at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
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